Web site rocks Catholic music scene

  • August 23, 2013

Catholic musicians looking for publicity have found a new home at CatholicBands.com — and music lovers are benefitting.

Michael Marchand, 29, has been in youth ministry for 10 years and had a difficult time finding good Catholic music.

“There’s Christian radio stations that are playing Christian music and there’s secular radio stations that are playing secular music, but there’s just not a good way to discover new Catholic bands,” said Marchand, citing a lack of music-oriented Catholic stations.

“Most of the few Catholic radio stations that are out there are talk format. And so there isn’t anybody giving exposure to Catholic bands.”

Marchand’s remedy is to introduce a new Catholic band each week to subscribers of his web site.

“You subscribe and every week we e-mail you a profile of the Catholic band, along with downloads of two of their songs,” he said.

To generate its stock of artists, the team — Marchand and his wife Crystal, a writer-researcher with a music background — search out and interview bands they already know and love. Additionally, subscribers will recommend bands.

“Also, as popularity of CatholicBands.com grows, we get more and more submissions from bands,” Marchand said.

Every week since the site’s May launch, a new band has been added, so new subscribers will receive bands weekly in the original release order.

Two main principles categorize Catholic music for Marchand’s purposes. The bands must self-identify as Catholic and espouse Catholic values.

“They’re actually vocally declaring that they are Catholic in that their Catholic faith is not only a part of their life, but influences their music, and their music supports and upholds Catholic values,” said Marchand.

“It’s not necessarily that every song has to be about Mary or every song has to be about the Eucharist, but the songs are upholding Catholic values and being produced with their Catholic faith in mind.”

The Marchands aim to gather a broad spectrum of quality music, from rock and roll to hip hop to country, even techno. Marchand does not expect that each subscriber will like every band, but promises to show them how wide the genre of Catholic music can be.

Their stock of bands include Out of Darkness (indie rock/ worship), Popple (acoustic humour folk rock), The Thirsting (alternative) and Paradox (hip hop).

In the long term, Marchand hopes to create a cycle where by exposing different Catholic bands, increased sales will allow musicians to earn a living and that in turn will encourage new Catholic bands to form, starting the cycle all over again.

Profiles of bands can include why they create Catholic music, how faith influences the way in which they partake in ministry through music and album release dates and upcoming tours.
CatholicBands.com is also partnering with parishes that want to use the site as a fundraiser. Basically, the CatholicBands. com team will provide parishioners with resources to set up a booth after Mass.

“When they sign up, they get a new subscription for $24, but then $10 of that goes to the parish,” said Marchand.

Subscriptions are $24 for a year and $3 a month.

Marchand is also the creator of Fantasy Conclave, a fantasy football–style web site for the last papal election where the faithful picked their favourites for pontiff with the winner receiving hundreds of dollars worth of Catholic-oriented prizes.

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